The rise of global private policing in Africa: real need or imperialist project?
Asomah, Joseph Yaw
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This research project explores critically the broader social context of the rise of global private policing in Africa, using Nigeria and South Africa to provide an in-depth illustrative and comparative context. Drawing on insights from global security and police research, Foucauldian governmentality studies, and postcolonial perspective in particular, the overarching question addressed in this research is that of whether the apparent rise in global private policing in Africa is occasioned by real need, or it constitutes an imperialist project? In other words, how do we make sense of this development? This research finds that private policing is largely a function of a paradigm shift from a collective human security to an individualistic sense of security through greater emphasis on competition, and private property or gain, in contrast to the collective welfare that predominantly characterized most pre-colonial African societies. Accordingly, global private policing is seen largely as a product of long-term historical undercurrents of colonialism and contemporary forms of Western imperialism, and the leadership crisis rooted in high-profile corruption and economic mismanagement in most parts of Africa; however, their impact on the extent of global private policing differs significantly due to the country-specific internal social, political, and economic, dynamics. This research therefore makes a contribution to the theoretical debates surrounding the growth of global private policing, particularly in the African context; and considers the broader implications for security policies grounded in private versus collective human security.